5 Creative Tips for Pinterest

Pinterest is a key tool for destination marketers as a way to showcase the wide variety of opportunities that a destination has to offer. Here are 5 creative tips to think about when you’re crafting your next post on Pinterest.

1. Use an Eye Catching Image

The first thing a user will notice and what will ultimately convince them to click is the image. You want your image to stand out from the rest and have a unique or interesting element that’s immediately noticeable. Also, make sure that the image is high-resolution. Check out these examples from tourism brands: 

2. Go Vertical

Pinterest reports that 85% of users are on mobile when using the platform. Consequently, you should always try to use a vertical image that will show up well in users’ feeds. Pinterest recommends a 2:3 aspect ratio; otherwise, your image may be automatically cropped. Check out the difference it can make:

Photo courtesy of Visit Colorado

3. Think “on-brand”

Make sure that you think of your destination and your company’s brand standards as the focal point of the pin. If you stray too far into using different fonts, sizes or types of images, you won’t be showcasing your brand to your consumers, which could negatively impact the performance of a pin – and general brand awareness! Keep your message clear and consistent across the platform! 

4. Include your Logo

Yes, that’s right. Include your logo very subtly in the lower left corner or justified to the center in order for your followers to know that it’s an official posting from your brand. This will allow your consumers to know the difference between the content you’ve created and outsider’s content. 

5. Add text overlay to tell a better story

Adding text to an image can be a great way communicate your message to potential pinners. “Text overlay” simply means the text on the image that you use for your Pin. Text on an image typically performs the best when the text is concise, or less than 100 characters. Check out this example:

Finally, remember that Pinterest is ultimately a visual search engine for your audience. Likely, a potential traveler will begin their trip planning process at a search engine and finding creative ways to inspire travel to your destination is key when you’re developing your Pinterest strategy. 

To stay updated on digital marketing practices for your destination, be sure to subscribe to our e-newsletter and follow us across social media with the links below! 

5 Quick Questions with TwoSix Digital’s Newest Team Member, Miranda Bono

We sat down with our newest team member, Miranda Bono, who will work as a Digital Advertising Strategist, and asked her a few questions. Read on to learn more about Miranda and join us in welcoming her aboard!

26: Welcome aboard, Miranda! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a recent MBA graduate ready to get back in to the digital world! I have two degrees in Business Administration, both specializing in Marketing and Communication. I am the biggest animal lover, I have three cats and one dog. It’s a lot of fur, so my Roomba is constantly working hard. I love being outdoors, reading, writing, yoga and watching true crime documentaries. 

26: Tell us more about your experience with digital marketing.

My first year in marketing was spent in a sales role and I paid my dues cold calling, selling and processing marketing campaigns. I followed that with three years in digital strategy and campaign management. I have managed over 50 websites at one time, I love multitasking, being productive and also being creative! I dabble in design and content creative, but also love the analytical and logical side of marketing.   

26: What is your favorite social media channel for personal use, and professional use?

My favorite social media for personal use would be Instagram to showcase my pets, and Pinterest to browse style and creative projects. For professional use I love utilizing Pinterest for design concepts, and LinkedIn for networking. 

26: TwoSix Digital works exclusively in the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry. What is the most magnificent place you have ever visited?

I made the scariest decision last year booking a three week vacation in Bali… by myself. It was the first time I traveled alone, and the first time I was traveling outside of the country! I definitely fell in love in Bali, with their culture, people and scenery. Since that trip I have the itch to see more beautiful places!

26: What is the best social media / content marketing advice you have ever received?

The best advice I have received about social media/content marketing is that consistent branding is everything. You want someone to recognize your ad before they see your brand name or logo, it should feel familiar to them. Building that connection with your target audience is everything. 

Please join us in welcoming Miranda to our team! Click below to learn more about her!

5 Basics of Google Analytics

If you constantly find your self wondering how to use Google Analytics (CA), you are not alone. Although Google Analytics has been around for several years now, there are still many marketers that feel overwhelmed even just opening the platform. It is a key tool in learning more about your website and audience and how you can ultimately reach your marketing goals.

In this blog we are going to go over the 5 basic measurements that will give you key insights to the overall effectiveness of your website.

To get started, go to www.google.com/analytics/ and sign in. Once you sign in, click the “audience” drop down menu on the far left and then click “overview.”

WHAT: “Total number of Sessions within the date range. A session is the period time a user is actively engaged with your website, app, etc. All usage data (Screen Views, Events, Ecommerce, etc.) is associated with a session.”

HOW: Audience > Overview

WHY: The number of website visitors is a great indicator to the effectiveness of a CVB. It’s important to not only know how many people visit your website, but to also compare it year-over-year.

WHAT: “Pageviews is the total number of pages viewed. Repeated views of a single page are counted.”

HOW: Audience > Overview

WHY: This number provides a grand total of the number of pages that were viewed on your website within a certain time frame. This can be a much more impressive number to share, and can highlight an effective website for inspiration.

WHAT: How long people spend on your website.

HOW: Audience > Overview

WHY: The longer people stay on your site, the more likely they are to convert. If you are seeing session durations under 90 seconds, it’s time to make your site more engaging. 

WHAT: The average number of pages people visit on your website.

HOW: Audience > Overview

WHY: This metric helps determine if your website inspires people to click around, or leave from the homepage. We like to see websites with 3+ pages per session.

WHAT: Percentage of people who “bounce out” of your website.

HOW: Audience > Overview

WHY: High bounce rates can indicate a couple things:

1) Your content does not match the promise of what they hoped to find.

2) Your page took too long to load.

3) The content was unappealing (bad imagery, useless information, too much information, etc.)

4) The content was so useful that people did not linger on the page because they found what they needed. Keep these things in mind when evaluating a page with high bounce rates!

Note: Average session duration, pages per session and bounce rate: These metrics are also tracked for individual pages on your website. The majority of this data can be found on the left side bar under Behavior > Site Content.

Now that you’ve learned these basics of Google Analytics, continue your learning at the links below:

For more hot tips on digital marketing and tourism, be sure to subscribe to our e-newsletter and follow us across social media at the links below!

How to Find Great User-Generated Content

(And what to do when you find it!)
Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

User-Generated Content (UGC) is a huge part of tourism marketing. People are constantly posting images during their travels, which provides great opportunities for DMOs to repost this content on their own channels to promote and inspire tourism. In this blog, you’ll learn the best ways to find great UGC on Instagram and what to do when you find it. 

Tagged Images

Some users make it super simple by tagging you in their photos, so the first place to start is looking at the images you’re tagged in! Navigate to the “tagged photos” portion in your Instagram profile to see what you’ve been tagged in. A best practice is to check-in on this a few times a week (at least) to make sure that you’re not missing out on any impressive content.

How to See What Images You're Tagged in On Instagram User-Generated Content UGC

Check Your Hashtag For User-Generated Content

Did you know that you can search your hashtag on Instagram to see all of the posts that have used it? You can do this by either navigating to the search bar and typing it in or by clicking your hashtag that’s in your bio. This will take you to a screen displaying both popular and recent posts using your hashtag!


Location Tags

Using a location tag is a method for users to post about the places they visit during their trip and a great way to know for certain that an image was taken at a specific destination. To find a specific location tag, simply navigate to the search bar and start typing in the location. You should see the location pop up in the search results. If you see a location tagged that you want to look at in your feed, you can also click on the tag above the image and it will navigate you to a page displaying both popular and recent posts at that location. Remember, don’t just check city tags, but also local attractions, restaurants, and more! 

What to Do When You Find User-Generated Content

Now that you’ve found the perfect image for your feed, it’s time to save the user-generated content to your collection and get approval from the user to actually use the photo in your feed. Follow these steps to make sure that you’re asking for permission in the right way:

  1. Save the image to your collection so you can easily refer back to it when necessary. See below how to add it to your collection:
Save User-Generated Content to Your Collection on Instagram

2. Like the Image!

3. Comment on the image using verbiage something like this:

“Great photo! With your permission, we’d love to use this in our blog. Let us know if you have any concerns.”

How to Ask for Permission for User-Generated Content UGC Tourism

4. Once you receive a response, you can reply and thank them for giving you permission!

Posting the User-Generated Content with Credit

Finally, make sure that when you post the image on your own social feeds, you tag the user in the image, or give them photo credit in the comments. If you’re putting it in your blog, be sure to give them image credit. If you are embedding the photo directly to your website, it’ll automatically give credit where credit is due.

Following this quick approach is an integral step in giving your brand a voice. You also show your visitors appreciation for posting their images of your location. Integrating user-generated content in your blogs and social media feeds will allow future visitors to see others experiencing your destination and can inspire them to do so as well. For more new and exciting ways to use digital marketing to enhance your destination marketing organization, be sure to subscribe to our e-newsletter and follow us across social media at the links below.  

4 Easy-to-Use Graphic Design Tools

Stellar graphics on social don’t have to be complicated. In fact, it is now easier than ever to create attractive and attention-grabbing images to enhance your content! Check out these 4 easy-to-use graphic design tools and you’ll feel like a graphic design pro in no time. 

Canva is an easy-access graphic design desktop app that allows you to accomplish a wide range of graphics even in the free mode! Create anything from an infographic to social media icons to creative elements of your Facebook ads. Plus, the app provides a wide variety of stock photos and icons that you can use for free. Canva allows you to share designs and folders with your team members to improve group collaboration. The best part is that it doesn’t have to be a huge financial commitment unless you want it to be, as there is a wide variety of features you can access with a free account. If you want to experience all that Canva has to offer, you can update to a premium account at any time.

Adobe Spark is a great tool if you are looking for personal branding of your images. Spark provides the ability to upload your own brand colors and logos (premium acount) so you can personalize all of your content! What makes the application unique? Adobe Spark has a feature that allows you to create hybrid-style landing pages that allow you to display your content in a new and different way. Check out our two blogs that are made by using Adobe Spark pages:

Not only can you create these beautifully displayed landing pages, you can also create social media graphics and videos to enhance your content calendar. Adobe Spark has both free and premium options for you to choose from. Check them out here.

Piktochart is a must if you are wanting to create any type of infographic or poster for an upcoming event. This tool is great for designing interactive infographics, even with their free option. You can imbed your infographics on your website for the interactive effect or simply download the graphics as PDFs. The app also allows you to create posters, presentations, reports and fliers. If you sign up for the Pro option, you get the added feature of creating as many content pieces as you want as well as team templates, which allow for maximum team collaboration. Check out our blogs that were made using Piktochart:

Pablo by Buffer is a great tool for quick and easy social graphics. It is a free application and is especially easy to use with the Buffer scheduling app. Upload your own photos and logos or use one of the thousands of free stock photos that the app has to offer and you’ll be able to create quick and beautiful images in no time! Plus, you can easily download your image to the correct size for the different social platforms. Learn more about the app here.

Always keep in mind that graphics don’t have to be complicated – in fact, the simpler, the better. Check out our blog best practices on posting graphics across each of the social platforms, so you can plan out how to integrate your newly created graphics into your content calendar.

To stay up-to-date on the latest (& greatest) digital marketing and tourism trends, be sure to subscribe to the TwoSix Digital e-Newsletter and follow us across social media.

Optimizing your Photos & Videos for your next Campaign

When you’re planning your next Facebook ad campaign, there are several things to keep top of mind. They include your goals, strategy and target audience. All of these are important to the overall execution and reach of the campaign, but one item is crucial to achieving success and capturing the attention of potential prospects – the campaign’s creative elements. 

Your campaign creative can be displayed in multiple ad formats such as carousel, slideshow, collections, canvas or instant experiences.  But regardless of what ad units you choose, the success of the campaign will be dependent on the quality of the creative images and/or videos.

Here are four basic considerations to optimize the photos and video that will be used in your next Facebook campaign. 

Make them Attention Grabbing

Allow your creative to be thumb-stopping – think scrolling through the feed via a mobile device. The visuals should grab the attention of the user as soon as they lay their eyes on it. Take time during your campaign planning process to come up with ideas to develop creative that is eye-catching, vibrant, and unique to your brand. Design something that is unique and will inspire users to engage with the ad.   There are multiple ways to get creative with photos and videos, check out a few of these examples below:

The bracelet brand Pura Vida uses eye-catching, bright images in a carousel format to grab a user’s attention. Source: SproutSocial

VisitPA used images creatively in a carousel ad by cutting panoramic photo into pieces so a user has to swipe through to see the whole photo. Source: CrowdRiff

The Bermuda Tourism Authority used cinemagraphs as a part of their “Summer Fridays” campaign. Source: Bermuda News

Align them with your Call-to-Action

Having a strong call-to-action (CTA) is imperative to motivating consumers to respond to your ad and help achieve your campaign goal.  Make sure that you only have one, singular, clear CTA to garner the best results. And, be sure that the context aligns with your creative.   For example, if you are targeting potential visitors with interests in “beaches in tropical destinations” to sign up for your email newsletter, you should use beach related images or video in your ad campaign to align with the user’s interests. Check out this great example from Discover Puerto Rico

For more help on writing a CTA for your Facebook ad, check out the ads guide on Facebook or our blog for the basics of getting started writing one. 

Include Minimal Text

Facebook recommends using as little text as possible in your ad creative. Creating images or video that are text-heavy for your ad campaigns can cause them not to perform well in the ad auction and will ultimately affect the deliverability to users in the news feed. Remember to keep it simple and use minimal text to relay your message effectively. 

Here are some examples of appropriate use of text in both video and images: 

Retargeting with Video

You can maximize your future campaign efforts with the use of video in your most recent ad set. This is most commonly done with Facebook’s Retargeting capabilitiesFor example, using a video for the first flight of the campaign will help solidify your core audienceThen, for the next flight, you can retarget this audience with an image-based ad built on the user engagement with the video. Facebook’s machine learning technology allows you to pick the level of engagement you’d like to target. You can specifically retarget based on watch time, (between 3 and 10 seconds), as well as percentage watched, (25%, 50%, 75%, and 95%). You can then select future potential targets based on engagement. You can directly retarget those users or build lookalike audiences with similar user personas from the Facebook database. 

Whether you’re trying to simply increase traffic on your website, gain email subscribers, or convert a hotel booking, never underestimate the power of good creative components in your Facebook campaign. For more information on how you can develop the best possible creative for your next campaign, check out the Facebook Ads Help centeror click below to continue your learning

To stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest tourism and digital marketing news, be sure to subscribe to the TwoSix E-newsletter and follow us across social media. 

How to Combat Dark Traffic in Google Analytics

You should get credit where credit is due. Unfortunately, “Dark Traffic” can be hidden from Google Analytics and website clicks that you drive from social media might not be showing up. Read on to learn everything you need to know about “dark traffic” and what you should do to combat it. 

First of all, dark traffic will show up in your Google Analytics as “direct/none.”Likely, you’ll see this in your top 5 ‘source / medium’. The standard belief is that direct traffic is from users typing in a URL or bookmarking the page, but this isn’t entirely true. Basically, it is a catch-all for traffic that Google Analytics can’t track where it’s coming from. For more info on direct traffic, click here.  

However, dark traffic is any traffic that Google Analytics is improperly recording as ‘direct/none.’ This means that ‘direct/none’ traffic is being overreported and other sources, such as paid or social might be underreported. What does it mean for you? It means that your efforts could be going unacknowledged. 

How does dark traffic occur? The two most common causes are URL shorteners like Bit.ly or Hootsuite, or Desktop programs and mobile applications like Outlook or Apple Mail. For example, if you post a shortened link on Twitter and a user clicks it, it does not calculate on Google Analytics. The same goes for when you send out an email newsletter and a user clicks on it from a mobile email application. In both of these instances, Google Analytics will incorrectly categorize it as ‘direct/none.’ Learn more here.

The answer is plain and simple: utilize UTM codes. A UTM code is a code that is easily added to the end of a URL to track the performance of your marketing efforts. This may sound confusing, but have no fear! As you should still use shortened links, Google offers a Campaign URL Builder(with a bit.ly shortener option) for you to utilize and there’s a Chrome extension that you can try, too! 

When you’re using the tool, keep in mind that “source” and “medium” are the most important. Some platforms, likeFacebook and Mailchimp, have implemented solutions to combat this missing traffic. However, make sure you implement UTM codes when using link shorteners on other social channels, and in your email campaigns, otherwise you won’t be able to track the traffic of these links correctly!

Dark traffic, unfortunately is something in the digital marketing world that is unavoidable entirely, but by using the strategies that we outlined above, you will be able to more accurately track the success of your latest campaign or blog. 

For more ways to stay up-to-date on the latest digital marketing trends, be sure to subscribe to our e-newsletter and follow us across social media! If you’re looking for more direct help with your latest campaign, feel free reach out directly!

    10 Essential Components of a Tourism E-Newsletter

    Your e-newsletter is a key component of travel planning for new or returning visitors. Whether it’s weekly, monthly, or quarterly, it is important to make sure that you are creating valuable content for your subscribers that they’ll want to open again. Check out these 10 essential components of a tourism e-newsletter to make your next newsletter a must-read!

    1. Eye-Catching Subject Line & Preview Text

    Subject lines are one of the most important aspects of any e-newsletter delivery. Recent studies conducted at TwoSix Digital have found that most users are motivated to open / not open a tourism e-newsletter based on the subject line. Utilize emojis, powerful words and calls to action to encourage your subscribers to open. Also be sure to include a short line of preview text to give readers a preview of what they can expect in your newsletter.

    2. Seasonal Header with Logo

    Help convey a sense of place and inspire users to visit throughout the entire year by adding a seasonal header to your newsletter. This will show your users a greater understanding of different activities and events that they can experience. Be sure to also include your logo, brand colors, and hashtag!

    3. Social Media Icons (follow & share)

    Include opportunities to gain following on your social profiles both at the top and the bottom of your newsletter for full coverage. Your newsletter is prime real estate to gain more following on your accounts. Be sure to also include share tools so users can share the information with their travel buddies!

    4. Call to Action Buttons Throughout

    Add key opportunities for your destination throughout the newsletter like your visitor’s guide, dining passports and unique offerings as call-to-action buttons. Studies show that hotel and meal deals typically perform well in this area and are great ways to inspire and encourage travel. Get your users to take action!

    Check out this blog if you’re having trouble coming up with CTAs:

    5. Images

    No one wants to read an e-newsletter (especially from a destination) that is all text. Improve the overall appearance and readability of the newsletter by adding seasonal images. To go one step further, even add links to the images to gain more website traffic!

    6. Short Pieces of Text

    The key to this component is ‘short’ — no one wants to read a huge paragraph, and this gives you a great opportunity to drive traffic to other sources. Keep it short and sweet and get your users to finish reading by going to your blog. Be sure to include necessary links to direct your readers to the right spot to get more information.

    7. Blogs & Trip Itineraries

    Your newsletter is a key part of the trip planning process, so including blogs, top 10 lists, and trip itineraries as pieces of content is important. Don’t forget to include clickable buttons and / or links back to more trip itineraries so they can continue their trip planning on your website.

    Below is a great example of how to add an image and text that accompanies your blog or trip itinerary:

    8. Upcoming Events

    Especially if you are sending your newsletter on a quarterly basis, it is important to include upcoming major events that could potentially be destination drivers. Include an image of the upcoming event as well as clickable links for them to learn more about the events that your destination has to offer.

    9. Social Media Feature

    Social media integration is key to your newsletter as it is an easy way to gain awareness of your presence on social media and add another touchpoint with your customers. Include your most-liked photo on Instagram or a great user-generated travel photo and include your hashtag to encourage users to post their photos when they visit.

    10. Unsubscribe Options

    As much as we don’t want your subscribers to leave you, it is your responsibility to include an unsubscribe option at the bottom of your newsletter. Most email marketing platforms automatically include this option for you, but it is always good to make sure.

    Including these 10 components in your newsletter will not only inspire your visitors to travel to your destination, but it will also keep visitors, potential visitors, and local customers informed of all of the latest and greatest things happening in your neck of the woods. For more ways to use digital marketing to inspire travel and grow your destination marketing organization, be sure to click below to subscribe to our e-newsletter and follow us across social media.

    Continue your learning with these TwoSix Digital Resources:

    5 Ways to Create a More Interactive Post

    Grabbing your audience’s attention is half of the battle when you are crafting an effective social media post. But have no fear, we’re here to help you boost the engagement of your organic posts with these 5 quick tips!

    1. Calls-to-Action

    This is, perhaps, the most important element to your posts if you want users to take action and engage with your content. Start by asking: What do you want them to do? Do you want them to click? Subscribe? Read more? Be sure to provide directional language like “Learn More About” and “Click Here for Hotel Deals” to encourage them to take action! Read our blog for more tips on creating an attention-grabbing call-to-action!

    2. Clickable Links

    Clickable links go hand-in-hand with your calls-to-action. If you are asking them to do anything that involves clicking a link, make sure the link is actually there! On Facebook and Twitter, make sure that you put the link in the post (see below) so they can have easy access. If you want them to take action on Instagram, include the link in your bio or as a swipe-up feature on your story.

    3. Hashtags

    Make sure to include hashtags on both Twitter and Instagram to not only help your users stay informed but encourage them to use the hashtags with their photos! Including a call-to-action in your posts about using your hashtag is a great way to get users to take action. Read our blog for more ideas on where to put your hashtag!

    4. Location Tags

    Location tags are especially important for destination marketing organizations. If a potential visitor sees your Facebook or Instagram post and is automatically intrigued by what you posted, they’re definitely going to want to know where they can find that when they come to visit. Adding a location tag is an easy way to keep your visitors informed on where to find things in your destination!

    5. Images + Video

    While the copy of your post is important to help engage a customer, it is also important to include eye-catching images or video to grab their initial attention. Posts with images or video, on average, perform better than posts without images or video. Check out this guide to help make sure that you’re posting images and video with the correct dimensions.

    When you’re crafting your next post on social media, be sure to keep these quick tips in mind so you can keep your audience engaged and interacting with your posts. For more tips and tricks on how to master the latest digital marketing trends, be sure to subscribe to our e-newsletter.